The Kinesthetic Learner: Something New

A kinesthetic learner needs to be actively doing other activities while learning. These learners require physical activity to learn. Their bodies do not make the connection that sedentary activities, including listening to lectures.

Signpost with Gamification wording

As a kinesthetic learner matures, he or she is able to take responsibility for his or her own learning. Tensing and relaxing muscles or wrapping a rubber band around a pencil helps a kinesthetic learner retain information from lectures. Some of these learners find it helpful to discuss their learning style with a teacher to gain approval to stand when necessary to redirect their focus. According to Kinesthetic Learning, when studying at home, bouncing a tennis ball against the floor often provides the necessary physical stimulus to retain information.

How does this play out in the Business learning environment? Clearly this type of learner will do better in a remote learning environment where his/her need for movement will not disrupt the overall class. Also, discussion with an instructor, or peers, can take place off site so that the remainder of the group can focus on how they learn.

Much like Auditory learners, kinesthetic learners don’t take notes in class. Does that mean they haven’t learned? No. Many people of this type of learner can and do have the ability to recite back the principles contained in the learned material. We are all familiar with the image of the executive who is bouncing a ball or striding around the room during an executive meeting or other discussion. Leaving aside the theatricality of the situation, it can be argued that this is a kinesthetic learning experience.

In the context of this audience, the gamification of learning is most useful. According to paper by J. Hamari and his colleagues, the gamification of learning is an educational approach to motivate students to learn by using video game design and game elements in learning environments. Within game-based learning initiatives, you can create your own video game, or play a game exploring and creating 3D worlds. In this context, the game is considered a learning experience. But killing mutants is not a corporate learning tool. At least not so far.

What is used includes a combination of gamification elements like points, badges, and leaderboards. The idea is to stimulate engagement and involvement. Corporate learning does encompass competition which is meant to involve participants. However, if you are not a kinesthetic learner, how useful is gamification to you? This is a question currently being debated. The amount of overhead (developing games & online environments) can be quite substantial. And, in a business environment, how much time can you devote to such activity?

Ideally, everyone feels they have a voice and is involved. In gamification, the focus is on a high overhead possibly intimidating environment which, while optimized for the kinesthetic learner can wind up leaving others out.  Is there middle, more inclusive, ground?